Designs We Love: Balancing Orbs
Why we love this emerging trend and 9 examples of the style
Lately we’ve noticed that many of our favourite new lighting designs share a common quality: their shape comprises an orb or spherical object balancing within, on, or around some curvi/linear structure.
IC Light S Suspension from Flos, designed by Michael Anastassiades
Glowing orbs have long been a popular and convenient shape for lighting designers, just look at some of the most beloved lighting designs in history: Foscarini’s Gregg collection designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, and Flos’ Glo-Ball collection designed by Jasper Morrison. Lately though, the sphere is being combined with another element: some linear or curvilinear structure that both serve as a juxtaposition to the sphere’s organic shape and to provide a framework within which the orbs can play.
From left: Glo-Ball Suspension from Flos, designed by Jasper Morrison; a cluster of Gregg Suspension Lights from Foscarini, designed by Ludovica & Roberto Palomba
We think the resulting designs provide an elegant combination of form and function, aesthetics and practicality.
Sphere as Archetype
Humans have always held an affinity for spherical, orb-like objects. From the planets and stars in the sky to fruits and seeds on the ground, the sphere is a common shape found in nature that has captivated us for centuries.
As an archetype of wholeness, completeness, and unity, the spherical shape appeals to us for its visual and symbolic qualities, as well as its associations with natural and technological phenomena. In contemporary culture, the sphere is often associated with technology, science, and innovation, as seen in the design of many modern gadgets and devices. This association may also contribute to our attraction to spherical objects. However, our fascination with the sphere goes beyond just its practical applications in technology and science.
The sphere represents harmony, balance, and symmetry, which are fundamental principles in many cultures and belief systems. The circle, which is a two-dimensional representation of the sphere, is often used as a symbol for infinity, eternity, and the cyclical nature of life and the universe. This symbolism has been used in various cultural and religious contexts, from mandalas in Hinduism and Buddhism to the Celtic cross in Christianity.
Additionally, the sphere has been used as a design element in art, architecture, and interior design for centuries. The sphere’s simple, elegant form can create a sense of balance and harmony in a space, as well as add a touch of sophistication and timelessness.
The Curvi/Linear Framework
As a new lighting style, balancing orbs have the additional element of a linear or curvilinear structure, which serve as a thematic juxtaposition to the organically shaped orbs as well as a structure within which the orbs can balance, or play. The curvi/linear structures are symbols of direction, progress, and movement, while the glowing orb adds a sense of depth, dimension, and warmth.
NomNom Suspension from Moooi, designed by Odin Visser
The use of the glowing orb within a curvi/linear structure is a study of opposing qualities - the soft, organic shape of the orb against the rigid, geometric lines of the structure. This contrast creates visual interest and can draw attention to the design, while still maintaining a sense of balance and unity.
The glowing orb within a curvi/linear structure can also be seen as a nod to the natural world, where linear structures like tree branches or vines often have spherical fruits or flowers nestled within them. This connection to nature can add a sense of warmth and comfort to the design, as well as create a sense of nostalgia or familiarity.
Trevi Suspension from CTO Lighting
Moreover, the use of glowing orbs within curvi/linear structures has practical applications in lighting design. The structure acts like a branching frame, distributing orbs to greater distances. Thus the light increases considerably in scale without feeling too heavy in volume and sight.
9 Lights Featuring Balancing Orbs
The Malamata Collection
From left: Malamata Suspension and the Malamata Floor from LucePlan, designed by Shulab
The Malamata light collection, designed by Shulab for Luceplan, features a striking shape that balances an orb atop a linear structure. This unique design allows for the possibility of a variety of diffuser positions, thanks to a spherical counterweight that can be adjusted with the push of a button. By releasing a spring, the counterweight is free to slide along the stem, enabling users to change the diffuser position up and down. The lights are named after the Hebrew phrase meaning 'up and down', reflecting the designer's Israeli roots. This collection offers a beautiful and functional lighting solution that is both innovative and versatile.
The Perle Collection
The Perle Suspension from Larose Guyon in a cluster of 3
The Perle lighting collection, designed by Larose Guyon, exudes luxury and elegance with its delicate, metallic structure and handblown glass orbs. Each fixture features an 8-inch glass ball, handcrafted to resemble a precious pearl in a piece of jewelry. The orbs balance gracefully atop curvilinear structures, creating a stunning visual display that is sure to draw the eye. The Perle collection is a tribute to the romantic world of jewelry design, and the attention to detail and craftsmanship is evident in each piece. With its warm and inviting glow, the Perle collection offers a high-end lighting solution that is both refined and visually captivating.
The Ivy Chandelier
Ivy Pendant 8 Suspension from CTO Lighting
The Ivy chandelier is a stunning lighting fixture inspired by the organic growth of new plants in the green spaces of London. The chandelier's curvilinear structures, made of bronzed metalwork, support glowing orbs that seem to grow in all directions towards the light. These orbs are available in opal or smoked glass shades, which add a softness and warmth to the fixture's overall aesthetic. The Ivy chandelier offers designers new opportunities to use lighting in less static compositions, as the sculptural pieces can be arranged in various ways to create unique and visually captivating displays. With its beautiful shape and warm, inviting glow, the Ivy chandelier is a true masterpiece of lighting design.
From left: Circ T-3716-W Suspension and Circ T-3714-W Suspension from Estiluz, designed by Nahtrang Studio
The Circ collection, designed by Nahtrang Studio for Estiluz, is a stunning series of lighting fixtures that provide both direct and indirect light. The Circ suspension lamp features spherical glass shades housing integrated dimmable LED lights that can be adjusted to create the perfect ambiance. The lamp's height is adjustable, and it can be mounted facing up or down, offering versatility in placement. The Circ also features a rotating arm that allows for installation at an angle, creating a unique and dynamic look. This fixture is perfect for use in a variety of settings, including living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bars, restaurants, and hotels. The Circ collection is available in several models, including pendants and wall lights, making it a versatile and functional lighting solution for any space.
The Posy Collection
Posy Linear 6 Suspension from Masiero, designed by Sara Moroni
The Posy lighting collection, designed by Sara Moroni for Masiero, is a stunning series of lighting fixtures that feature glowing orbs nestled within linear structures set perpendicularly to one another. Each lamp is made from delicate, handcrafted glass petals that are arranged in a circular formation, creating the illusion of a beautiful bouquet of flowers. The Posy collection is available in a range of sizes and configurations, from single pendants to larger chandeliers, making it a versatile lighting solution for any space. Elegant and sophisticated, these fixtures are perfect for use in living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms, where their soft, warm glow and unique linear structure create a romantic and intimate ambiance.
The Reprise Collection
Reprise Pendant B Suspension lights from Apparatus in Tarnished Silver and Oil-rubbed Bronze
The Reprise pendant by Apparatus is a more unique take on the classic balancing orb light style. This stunning pendant features a Jetsons-like design: a futuristic vision of the 1960s that incorporates elements of mid-century modern design. It is both striking and elegant. The centrepiece of the Reprise pendant is a beautiful mould-blown glass orb that is suspended in mid-air by delicately articulated brass chain and robust brass forms. These forms are hand-wrapped in textural suede and smooth leather, which recall the perfection of plasticity playfully considered by designer Joe Colombo, reinterpreted by the human hand in savoir-faire leather craft. The complexity of Reprise’s construction is belied by its playful defiance of gravity, making it a truly unique and captivating lighting fixture. Crafted from the finest materials including mould-blown glass and brass armature, this pendant is a true masterpiece of lighting design.
The Puppet Collection
From left: Puppet Ring SP Suspension and Puppet Ring AP 2 Wall lights from Vistosi, designed by Romani Saccani Architetti Associati
The Puppet light collection from Vistosi is an elegant example of the balancing orb lighting design. The collection features glowing orb diffusers nestled within curvilinear frames that create a beautiful and ethereal effect. The distinctive feature of the Puppet collection is the three rings with increasing diameter that are combined in different sequences to form the framework upon which the glass spheres of varying sizes rest. The resulting design is aesthetically light and elegant, combining glass and metal in a way that is both beautiful and functional.
The Fiddlehead Collection
From left: Fiddlehead Cantilever Ceiling; Fiddlehead Suspension from Roll & Hill, designed by Jason Miller
Designed by Roll & Hill Founder Jason Miller, the Fiddlehead collection offers an elevated nature-inspired touch to its environment. Named after the sprouting ferns, its take on the balancing orb design features a long, unfurling arm that gently steadies a hand-blown glass globe. On the other end, the light’s stem connects to the wall or ceiling as a counterbalance.
The Hubble Bubble Collection
From left: Hubble Bubble Suspension from Moooi with Frosted and Oil-iridescent hand blown glass diffusers, designed by Marcel Wanders
Designed by Marcel Wanders, Hubble Bubble is inspired by nostalgia and the magic of childhood. Reminiscent of blowing bubbles and running barefoot in the open air, the designer’s iteration of balancing orbs presents the light sources as symbolic vessels of precious memories. Powered by Electrosandwich®, a technique of coating conductive, very thin, and delicate layers, it enables the LEDs to draw low voltage current from the frame. Available in oil-iridescent and frosted versions, the Hubble Bubble can be hung both horizontally and vertically, adding a touch of playfulness to any interior design.
Illuminate Your Space with Balancing Orbs
Perle 3 Suspension from Larose Guyon
Combining form and function, as well as aesthetics and practicality, the trend of using glowing orbs within curvi/linear structures has emerged in lighting design. The sphere’s visual and symbolic qualities, as well as its associations with natural and technological phenomena, make it a timeless design element that can create a sense of balance, harmony, and visual interest in any space. The glowing orb within a curvi/linear structure adds depth, dimension, and warmth to the design, while also referencing natural patterns and connections. So, whether you’re looking to add a touch of sophistication to your home or create a dynamic and adaptable workspace, consider incorporating a light shaped like a balancing orb into your lighting design.
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